M. Böl, A.E. Ehret
Microbial biofilms are populations of microorganisms attached to surfaces and interfaces. Their presence strongly affects human life in a variety of beneficial and harmful ways. For example, biofilms appear as natural microflora in the gastrointestinal tract but may also cause implant infections in surgery. Regarding technical applications, they represent e.g. an important component in water treatment procedures but are also responsible for biofouling and corrosion.
Besides microbiological aspects, the mechanical properties of the biofilm as a material are of major importance for a thorough understanding of biofilm formation, growth and resistance to external forces. Due to the small scales, the majority of standard methods for materials characterisation are inapplicable to biofilm testing so that novel robust and reproducible characterisation techniques are needed. Based on experimental results, models to interpret the material behaviour can be constructed and used in computational simulations. This concerns both models for growth and development of biofilms, purely mechanical models explaining the response to external loads as well as coupled approaches.
The aim of this minisymposium is to bring together researchers who are concerned with different aspects of computational biofilm modelling and experimental methods for biofilm characterisation.